Overheating can damage electrical circuit components and can cause fire, explosion and injury. The potential catastrophic consequences of electrical system failure and hazards must be avoided at all costs.
Predictive maintenance (PdM) inspections on electrical systems allow companies to detect and correct problems early. This helps to avoid equipment shut down, loss of production and safety incidents.
It is important that the person conducting the inspection is not only adequately certified, but that they also use the correct thermal camera for the task in order to achieve reliable results.
Two key features of a thermal camera that should be understood for optimal results from an electrical predictive maintenance inspection.
Thermal resolution is important in thermography. Every single pixel is a measuring point, therefore the higher the resolution, the more measurement points you have and the more accurately you will measure. When you measure more accurately, you detect anomalies earlier, avoiding unnecessary damage for your customer.
When you look at a normal photograph on a digital screen, you’re really observing thousands of individual little points of colour. In the same way, radiometric thermal imaging cameras capture temperature data for each of the thousands of points in what we call a thermogram or thermal image.
The other feature that is equally important is thermal sensitivity (NETD, or Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference).
This is expressed the ability of an infrared camera to display a very good image even if the thermal contrast in a scene is low. A camera with good thermal sensitivity can distinguish between objects that have very little temperature difference between them.
Both features described above are critical for a successful inspection yet are often overlooked. For lots of applications, lower budget thermal cameras are sufficient, electrical predictive monitoring is not one of them.
The goal after all, is to avoid equipment break down, loss of production and most importantly safety incidents.
Thanks for reading.